NBC and ABC's Sunday news shows turned to discredited architects of the Iraq War to opine on the appropriate U.S. response to growing violence in Iraq, without acknowledging their history of deceit and faulty predictions.
This week a Sunni Iraqi militant group (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS) seized control of several Iraqi cities and is focusing their sights on taking control of Baghdad and the rest of the country. The United States is still debating a response to the escalating violence, and has reportedly moved an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf.
To discuss the growing unrest and potential threat of terrorism that could emerge, NBC's Meet The Press turned to Paul Wolfowitz, the former Deputy Secretary of Defense under the Bush administration.
Wolfowitz, who served in the Bush administration from 2001 -- 2005 as Deputy Secretary of Defense, is universally recognized as one of the original architects of the Iraq invasion. He infamously predicted the war reconstruction effort could pay for itself from Iraqi oil revenue (for reference, the cost of the Iraq War is now estimated to be more than $2 trillion), and publicly accused Saddam Hussein of possessing weapons of mass destruction long after the intelligence community informed the Pentagon that he did not. Later, Wolfowitz claimed that the conflict was primarily about liberating the Iraqi people rather than confronting the WMD threat, while also making the assertion -- without evidence -- that without the invasion, “we would have had a growing development of Saddam's support for terrorism.”
Ten years after the start of the war, Wolfowitz admitted that the Bush administration bungled the conflict and should never have taken control of the country away from Iraqi leadership, despite having been the first senior Bush official after September 11, 2001 to call for Hussein's overthrow.
And on June 15 from his NBC platform, Wolfowitz opined that the current Iraqi violence could be traced to the absence of U.S. troops, suggesting that we should have stayed in Iraq just as we “stuck with South Korea for 60 years.” When Meet The Press host David Gregory asked the former Bush official for advice on how to mitigate the potential terrorist threat merging from ISIS, saying “what do you do then, as a policy matter, to stop this,” Wolfowitz responded that the Obama administration must convince the Middle East that the U.S. “is serious,” arguing, “I would do something in Syria.”
That same day ABC's This Week invited network contributor and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol to discuss how the U.S. should handle the growing violence in Iraq, a notable decision given Kristol's poor record on Iraq War predictions.
Kristol cheerleaded the U.S.-led invasion in Iraq and was even a member of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, a coalition of neoconservatives pushing for military invention. He infamously predicted the Iraq conflict was “going to be a two month war,” (the war lasted approximately 104 months) and testifying in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee urging military action, Kristol proclaimed that “American and alliance forces will be welcomed in Baghdad as liberators.”
One month into the conflict, in April 2003, he declared that the “battles of Afghanistan and Iraq have been won decisively and honorably.” That same month, Kristol maintained that there is “almost no evidence ... at all” that “the Shia can't get along with the Sunni, and the Shia in Iraq just want to establish some kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime.”
In recent months Kristol has sneered at the notion that Americans may be “war-weary,” calling it an “excuse to avoid maintaining our defenses or shouldering our responsibilities” while advocating for military invention in Syria.
In an appearance on ABC on June 15, Kristol lay the blame for escalating violence in Iraq at the feet of the Obama administration, saying, “It's a disaster made possibly by our ridiculous and total withdrawal from Iraq in 2011.” Kristol went on to suggest that the war in Iraq is not over: “President Obama said two days before election day, in 2012, Iraq is on the path of defeat, the war in Iraq is over. That was enough to get him re-elected. Iraq is on the path of defeat. Neither is true. It's a disaster for our country.”
Holding Wolfowitz and Kristol up as reputable sources on U.S. intervention in Iraq, the broadcasts explained neither the roles the men played in dishonestly crafting the Iraq War nor their woeful records of predicting its outcome and aftermath.